Sports Direct International has bought a 4.9% stake in sports apparel and footwear maker Amer Sports.

The UK sports retailer paid EUR58.4m (US$78m) the stake in Amer, which is listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange.

"This strategic investment by the company is consistent with the company's stated corporate objectives at the time of its IPO, which included considering the expansion of its outdoor leisure offering as well as pursuing further strategic investment opportunities in the UK and overseas," Sports Direct said in a statement.

The company added that it would continue to make and retain strategic investments that have a potential strategic or commercial advantage.

Amer, whose portfolio of brands includes Wilson, Salomon, Precor, Atomic and Suunto, provides goods for tennis, golf, team sports, skiing, cycling, and running, with a particular focus on outdoor athletic activities.

Earlier this week Sports Direct founder and entrepreneur Mike Ashley was rumoured to have sold his own personal 3.14% stake in Adidas Group, which he purchased in March.

In a separate deal he also purchased another 28% of Newcastle United Football Club from its chairman Freddy Shepherd. He now owns nearly 70% of the club as his sports empire continues to expand.